Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo, Sepang, 2017

Rules stability will help Red Bull fight Mercedes and Ferrari – Ricciardo

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In the round-up: Daniel Ricciardo believe the lack of major changes in F1’s rules since last year will help the team take the fight to Mercedes and Ferrari.

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Is F1 likely to become closed-wheel in the future?

Open wheel vs. closed wheel is largely just a matter of aesthetic preference these days. F1 stays open-wheel because F1 began open-wheel.

If the F1 rules actually allowed closed-wheel / closed-cockpit designs, competitors would switch immediately, for better aerodynamics and for driver safety. But the cars are iconic just as they are, and such a dramatic aesthetic change would surely annoy just as many fans as it would please, so the F1 organisers continue with the open-wheel, open-cockpit tradition. But the changes are coming. We can see them in the F1 concepts from Red Bull, Renault or Ferrari.

‘F1 cars do it, so it must be better’ is very dangerous reasoning. F1 cars are bound by F1 rules, and for many years F1 rules have been deliberately designed to slow the cars down. The rules are largely designed to create a level playing field, but at some point the cars got so fast, and the sport got so dangerous, that the rules also became tools to make the sport less dangerous. That has led to many rules whose sole purpose is to prevent the cars from getting too fast. Formula E has a different approach, Alejandro Agag is doing it great, except for the Fanboost thing.
OSCAR (@Okif1)

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 37 comments on “Rules stability will help Red Bull fight Mercedes and Ferrari – Ricciardo”

    1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
      14th February 2018, 1:07

      I agree with COTD. I wouldn’t mind if F1 decides to enclose the tyres partially or totally, if that helps to overtake naturally (bye DRS) and makes the category safer (less chances of a car being launched by another if a tyre climbs onto another).

      1. @omarr-pepper

        I have always figured the open wheels are an important part of reducing contact in F1. Closed wheels make punctures more likely when there is contact. Body damage might be more likely too.

        I don’t think the stewards and rules can replace the treat of damage, so there would be more contact. The drivers would “make them issue the penalty” because sometimes they won’t.

        Think of Vettel’s contact with Hamilton in Mexico. Hamilton ask if it was on purpose, we assumed it was racing at the edge. There was no penalty. But it lead to a bad race for both drivers, so in the end it didn’t change the season.

        In NASCAR Hamilton would have spun, Vettel would have finished second. Ugh. I’m scared closed wheels would lead to that nonsense in F1.

        1. Don’t compare it to NASCAR, that’s too far off the mark. Compare to LMP1. Is there a problem you see in LMP1?

        2. @slotopen no one with any common sense saw that as a racing incident. Seb does not get the benefit of the doubt due to his previous intentional wrecks.

    2. COTD, FE hasn’t got the weight of success. F1 is expensive and successful, it’s hard to take risks with tremendous gambles. Letting the formula change on it’s own is a thing of the past, as f1 became more successful most rules try to shape f1 into a familiar form.
      Obviously f1 without rules would be closed cockpit enclosed wheels and as much aero as suitable, and curiously no Hybrid or electric transmission(yet), and possibly no driver as such technology could’ve been mastered by now had it not been banned.

      IMO, not a logical answer, I just like to see the tyres, and I like to see the cars being pushed, you watch a minardi lap of suzuka 01 and compare it to a last years lap, you’ll realize that their pace, in s1 is very similar yet the minardi looks so much more spectacular than these cars that are so good they make it look easy to run over physics.

    3. So won’t rules stability help Mercedes and Ferrari? Are we gonna pretend that their wasn’t problems with Mercedes car last Year?

      1. Just yesterday I was saying the same thing to myself “the rules not changing should help Redbull (Newey) design a great car for 2018” but then I remembered that “the new rules for 2017 should help Redbull (Newey) design a great car for 2017”. I think I’ll just treat it as a wait n’ see.

      2. Within a given set of rules, there is a max performance you can get out of a car, while we don’t know what that limit is because we don’t know what ideas the engineers haven’t had yet, we do know that whoever is fastest on the grid (Ferrari and Merc) are the teams that are closest to that limit for now. That means they have less room for improvement while the slower teams can still make bigger jumps. In theory, while the rules are stable, the teams will converge on that unknown limit getting closer together all the time until the rules change and the whole process starts over again. The exceptions are teams that go down the wrong development path and lose ground compared to others which does happen, but in general the field should get tighter over time.

        1. We heard these same hopes last year, and to be honest, the way Ferrari started the season last year, even I thought Mercedes would be given a harder time for most of the year. They weren’t. I got the impression that the Mercs had plenty in hand on Ferrari and could brought that into to play if they ever felt threatened enough.

          1. Ambrogio Isgro
            14th February 2018, 6:54

            Well, no. Last year there was a major change in rules to help non Mercedes team to be more competitive through a less “engine formula”. Ferrari got a fast and easy to set up chassis and some improvement on the engine side, Mercedes had the fastest package but with a difficult set up window, Red Bull got wrong at the beginning of the season and recovered in the second half while suffering poor engine reliability.
            Hopefully stability will help performance to converge at least for the top 3, with McLaren fighting against Force India as best of the rest.

          2. I agree, I feel Mercedes was sandbagging a lot last year. It is inevitable due to them being able to turn a knob which decides how much power the engine will produce. They just have to balance power with engine wear. They obviously only set it to juuuuust enough power to beat all the other teams, but I would not be surprised if they are one second or more faster if they set the engine to max power. Of course this will probably mean the engine will only last one race, but still, not very sporting when you have such an advantage.

          3. The Mercedes and Ferrari weren’t that far apart.
            Main thing was that the Mercedes and Renault where much more economical with there fuel, so ferrari had to start lift and coast way sooner then the Mercedes and Renault (RBR) cars.

      3. Very true, but I guess they have to say something positive at the start of a season.

        I guess if you read between the lines he means “ nothing much changed in chassis rules so hopefully we’ll get one that’s more like the one we finished last year with than the dog we started it with because surely they can’t stuff that up”.

        What they had at the end of the year was actually pretty competitive.

        Fingers crossed – not long to go before we start finding out who got things right and who didn’t.

        1. @dbradock
          The only time they were competitive was between Singapore and Mexico, coincidently that was the time Renault/the big 3 and the FIA were having a war behind the scenes about the FIA technical director who Renault signed and who’s job it was to check the cars before raceday. I remember seeing somewhere that someone said while the politics were going on behind the scenes, Red Bull secretly put back on the suspension that was banned at the start of the season and were racing with it from Singapore or Malaysia to Mexico. After Mexico they were not competitive again.

    4. Drivers slam Fuji date change for Alonso
      Other drivers have hit out at a calendar tweak that means Fernando Alonso can now contest the full sports car world championship in 2018.
      Earlier, the McLaren driver looked set to skip the Fuji round of the world endurance series due to a clash with a grand prix.
      But series organisers have now moved the Fuji date — making it clash instead with races that affect other drivers on the world endurance circuit.
      “It’s a shame that a race is changed for one driver when the change hurts so many other drivers who have contracts in place,” Alonso’s former teammate Jenson Button, now a Super GT driver in Japan, said on Twitter.
      Sports car driver Olivier Pla added: “Many thanks WEC, your lack of consideration and respect for the drivers who had a contract the same weekend is unbelievable.
      “I’m sure I will be not the only one to be (not) impressed with what you did.”
      And Andre Lotterer said: “Wouldn’t it have been a lot easier for everyone if Alonso would just miss a F1 race? Is that going to change much for him?”
      http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns38124.html

      1. Everyone is looking at this wrong imo. WEC, F1, WRC, FE, or whatever premier (and I mean premier, the very top of a category) race series you choose to name shouldn’t let there be conflicts for race dates, especially if they are under the FIA umbrella. If only WEC and F1 ran things this way, there is no conflict. As it is, the “blame” (I’m actually happy this has happened) totally and completely lies with those running the Fuji WEC event. Alonso may have asked for it (did he?) but he didn’t decide it, the request could have been refused.

      2. hmmm….who would i rather see drive, Olivier Pla or Fernando Alonso? Cold hard truth hurts sometimes, i can understand them being upset, but it is what it is.

        1. @lancer033, I would advise you to ignore Jorge – that guy seems to have a slightly disturbing obsession with hating Alonso, to the point where it seems to verge on a form of mental illness.

          1. I would advise you to ignore Anon – that guy seems to have a slightly disturbing obsession with loving Alonso, to the point where it seems to verge on a form of mental illness.

      3. Welcome back ‘man with the camera’.
        I see you’re nor over your Alonso complex yet.

        ‘Fuji’ did not change the date for one driver; they changed it for thousands of fans.
        Seems a wise decision to me, commercially ‘spot on’.

        1. Most probably even “millions of fans”.

          1. agree (TV, social media, etc), @spoutnik.
            But I wanted to play it safe; the negativity brigade should stop blaming this one driver for the date change.

    5. I thought you guys didn’t include your own stuff in the round ups.
      That was a fun interview with Ricciardo. Thanks!

      1. It’s not “their stuff”, that is the generic interview produced in-house at Red Bull and distributed to any and all outlets. The choice to “brand” it as your own without any original content (logo, trailer, graphics, whatever) is, well, a choice.

    6. Did not know about the YouTube channel – nice one.

      Ricciardo definitely seems to be one of the most (if not the most) personable characters on the grid.

      1. @phylyp Agreed. I find him the most personable and likable current F1 driver.

        1. A few people have been saying Daniel’s smile is fake- I can assure you all its not. I have met him at races maybe 15-20 times in the past 5 years and the guy is a gem. What you see is what you get, a very funny bloke that can drive.

          One thing to note is that he does refer to teammate Max more than Max refers to Ricky Bobby. So Dan does know he is up against a world beater. Max is that good. And while people say Max owed Dan in 2017 in reality Dan was 32 points ahead and the retirements was 7 to Max and 6 to Dan.

          Qualiy went in Max’s favour but I think the average gap was about 0.03 seconds. A heart beat.

          My point being is that so many have said Max is the new King Pin and said Dan is no good, but on data they are actually very similar in pace. Game on this year.

    7. “Everyone understands that the contract we have now is unacceptable. I think the new leadership of Formula 1 understands that as well.” – And how exactly is it ‘unacceptable,’ LOL?
      ”Super GT Moves Race to Avoid Fuji WEC Clash” – When will this nonsense finally come to an end, LOL?

      1. Why nonsense? That’s a perfectly reasonable move. Unlike what that storm in a teacup after the Fuji WEC race was moved suggested, moving races at that stage of the year is pretty normal in many racing series, and by no means a big deal. Those races are scheduled to take place in October, after all, and not in March …

    8. I’m glad to see that the organisers of the Baku GP agree that their race is unacceptable. If only they put their money where their mouths are, and terminated the contract …

      1. I’m surprised that Maffei came out and was quite so blunt about the fact that F1 is only in Baku for the money (quote from the article below). We all know that is the case but FOM/Liberty are usually a bit more tactful when discussing where F1 races.

        “Last year, Liberty Media president and CEO Greg Maffei dismissed the Baku event, claiming the race did not contribute to the overall growth of F1 and suggesting its high fee was the only reason for F1’s presence in the country.”

        1. @geemac
          Public denigration to raise the stakes sounds a bit like something Don Bernie would’ve done, doesn’t it?

    9. It’s silly how Haas is having to backpedal over their American driver comment. It’s pretty simple; if there was an American driver ready to be in F1, then there would be an American driver in F1.

      America may not be saturated with F1 fans, but if a tiny country like Finland can produce as many drivers as it does, then there is more than enough of a base in America to have put forward candidates if any existed.

      When you look at how well Alonso did parachuting into Indy it’s pretty clear the depth of talent in that series doesn’t rank up there with F1.

      1. @philipgb
        Rossi did a respectable job when he had a seat, certainly enough to take a place alongside a bigger star. They always avoid mentioning his name for some reason though.

        Alonso did well in the 500, but his team had the fastest car and he couldn’t match the top guys. Not to mention that was ‘go fast, turn left’, hardly a comparable discipline. Obviously Indycar drivers on average aren’t up with F1 drivers when it comes to circuit racing, but I doubt their top drivers are far off the lower midfield drivers of F1.

    10. Yeah, what strikes me the most is that Ricciardo looked like he wasn’t sure about the quantity of engines allowed per season! Also, I loved the cockpit picture of Keke’s Williams! So cool!

    11. I think there is visually great little niche somewhere between open wheelers and lmp style cars. Something like the ktm x-bow, red bull x2010 or even the new formula e really show how cool the car could look if you allow little bit more bodywork around the tires. For f1 all that bodywork would need to be functional instead of just aesthetical like formula e but the visual direction could produce some gorgeous and futuristic designs.

      But it is also a difficult change to make. Indycar tried having these bumper like things behind the rear tires to help with accidents so cars won’t get airborne so easily. But it seems nobody really liked them. Plus lots of people are really religious about f1 being an open wheeler series and any change has lots of trouble selling any new concepts to those people. But as something totally new I think the cars could potentially look great.

      That being said I doubt the effect on racing would be much noticable at all. Exposed tires generate lots of turbulent air and lift but allowing bodywork around the tires could also make the cars even more sensitive to the effects of dirty air. Plus the cars of today are already massively obese. Over 800kg at the start of the race. Add another 50kg for more bodywork and you are almost at 900kg. More than open wheelers f1 is supposed to be agile, light weight and nimble race cars. Not road relevant highway cruisers.

    12. …if any existed.

      lol, If it were only that simple.

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